Ovid: Amores I - A Review of the BCP Latin Texts Edition
Ovid was one of the most influential poets of ancient Rome, who wrote elegies, epics, and didactic poems on various topics. His Amores (Loves) is a collection of romantic poems centered on his own complicated love life, which he portrays with humor, irony, and passion. The Amores consists of three books, each containing 15 poems, mostly in elegiac couplets.
The BCP Latin Texts edition of Amores I, edited by John Barsby, is an outstanding resource for students and teachers of Latin literature. It was first published in 1973 by Oxford University Press, and has been kept in print by Bristol Classical Press because of its high quality and usefulness. It was one of the first editions to adopt a continuous running commentary style, which is particularly suited to short poems, as it provides more context and insight than isolated notes on specific words or phrases.
The edition contains the complete Latin text of Amores I, along with a comprehensive introduction that covers Ovid's life and works, the genre and style of the Amores, the manuscript tradition, and the metrical and linguistic features of the poems. The commentary follows the text on the same page, and explains grammatical, syntactical, historical, cultural, and literary aspects of each poem. The commentary also includes frequent cross-references to other poems by Ovid and other authors, as well as relevant quotations from ancient sources. The edition also provides a full vocabulary at the end of the book, as well as a select bibliography for further reading.
The BCP Latin Texts edition of Amores I is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to read and appreciate Ovid's witty and elegant love poems in their original language. It offers a clear and reliable text, a thorough and insightful commentary, and a rich and accessible vocabulary. It is suitable for intermediate and advanced students of Latin, as well as for teachers and scholars who want to explore Ovid's poetic artistry and influence.
Some of the themes and motifs that Ovid explores in Amores I are the power and pain of love, the role of poetry and art in seduction and expression, the contrast between reality and idealization, the influence of the gods and fate on human affairs, and the joys and troubles of adultery. Ovid also plays with the conventions and expectations of the elegiac genre, often subverting or parodying them with his inventive and humorous language. He also engages in a dialogue with his predecessors and contemporaries, such as Catullus, Propertius, Tibullus, and Horace, sometimes imitating, sometimes challenging, and sometimes surpassing them.
The poems of Amores I are not arranged in a strict chronological or narrative order, but rather form a loose sequence that reflects Ovid's changing moods and situations. The first poem serves as a prologue, in which Ovid explains how he was originally planning to write an epic poem on war, but was diverted by Cupid to write love elegies instead. The following poems depict various episodes and aspects of Ovid's relationship with his mistress Corinna, a pseudonym for an unknown woman who may or may not have been a real person. Some of the poems are addressed to Corinna directly, some to other characters involved in their affair, such as her husband, her maid, or her rivals, and some to the reader or to himself. The poems range from tender and passionate declarations of love, to witty and ironic complaints and advice, to bitter and angry accusations and reproaches. The last poem of the book is an epilogue, in which Ovid bids farewell to Corinna and announces his intention to write a new work on the art of love. ec8f644aee